The HAPPINESS BOX from Sam Horn's SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week

It has been wonderful hearing back from people how helpful the Happiness Quiz-Box has been in helping them identify ONE THING they can do to be happier now, not later.

As promised in the Audible recording, we wanted to provide a sample of it here - with instructions - so you can print it out and fill it out with a friend or family member.

Here's how it works. Have you ever played a word-association game where someone asks a question and you’re supposed to say the first thing that comes to mind? For example, if I say, "Hawaii," you might ay "Beach." If I say "Dog," you might say "Cat."

The goal of this exercise is to listen to and honor your GUT - because it has the answers to your HAPPINESS TEST.

Promise to write down your first response to the following questions. No censoring or second-guessing what comes up. Your first response is usually the most honest response and that's the goal. This is the one place you get to express what you might have been hiding or denying because it wasn't "nice" or "politically correct" to admit.

Please print out TheHappiness Box in the photo above or draw a box on a fresh piece of paper. Divide it into four quadrants and label the squares like this:

 Square 1 is upper left. 

Square 2 is upper right.

Square 3 is lower left.

Square 4 is lower right.

Now, answer the following questions in the appropriate square.

Square 1: “What are you DOING in your life you WANT TO?” Walking your dog? Spending time with your kids? Getting out in nature on weekends? Going to concerts?

Square 2: “What are you NOT DOING in your life you WANT TO?” Not starting your own business? Not dating? Not writing? Not traveling? Not playing sports or working out?

Square 3: “What are you DOING in your life you DON’T WANT TO?” Commuting two hours a day? Over-eating? Watching too much TV? Working late or on the weekends?

Square 4: “What are you NOT DOING in your life and you DON’T WANT TO?” Yes, this is a double negative. It’s important though because it identifies toxic, unhealthy, unwanted behaviors you've quit and are successfully keeping out of your life. Maybe you used to smoke and don’t anymore, and you never want to pick up a cigarette again.

When you’re finished, circle your responses in Square 1 and 4. That’s what’s “right” with your life. That is what is contributing to your quality of life.

Circle your answers in Square 2 and 3. That's what’s “wrong” with your life. That is what is compromising your quality of life.

Please note: none of us are perfect so there will always be things “wrong” with our life.

The question is, “HOW LONG?” How long have you been doing these things you don’twant to do? How long have you not been doing things you dowant to do?

John Foster Dulles said, "The mark of a successful organization isn't whether or not it has problems; it's whether it has the SAME problems it had last year."

Would you have given the same answers in Sqare 2 and 3 a month ago, a year ago, 3 years ago? Square 2 and 3 are where regrets lurk. Those are the things that, at some level, you're telling yourself you'll do someday when you're not so busy, when you have more time, freedom,motivation, the right person, the right set of circumstances ... whatever.

Chuck Yeager said, "At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results."

That is the point of my book. To turn reasons into results. To change this perpetual procrastination, this default "I'll do it later" mentality, that leads to regrets.

You may be thinking, “But Sam, it's complicated. I don’t have the option to act on what's in Square 2 and 3. I've got a lot on my plate. I'm going non-stop."

I understand. The good news is, you don't have to quit your job, abandon your responsibilities or make wholescale changes to improve your quality of life.

All you have to do is identify one thing you can change in Square 3 and it will often free up time, energy and motivation to do something about what's in Square 2.

What I have found is that if you carve out ONE hour a week for something that puts the light on in your eyes, that lifts your spirits and makes you feel good, that is just for YOU - it can compensate for the other 95% of your life that is a compromise or out of your control.

As Thomas Edison said, “There is always a better way to do something, find it.”

A young woman who had been the lead in her high school plays and active in community theater had come to NYC with stars in her eyes. Two years later, she was still waittressing, sleeping on a friends' couch, and going to one audition after another with no success.

She was about to go home with her tail between her legs. What she wasn't doing in Square 2 was having fun or making friends. What she was doing in Square 3 was getting rejected all the time at auditions and doing a job she hated to pay bills.

These were big problems, but there was an "easy" fix that only took 90 minutes a week and only costs $25. She started going to Daybreaker. (Read their fascinating backstory here.)

Daybreaker is a morning dance party that meets at cool places (an art loft, historic theater, museum or cruise ship) so she gets to experience the city. It has a welcoming committee at the door (instead of a bouncer) so she feels included instead of anonymous or at risk. It features yoga, healthy snacks and uplifting dancing where EVERYONE is on the floor having a fabulous time. It's from 6 am - 8 am so she can still be at work by 9 am. And at $25, she can afford it on her budget.

She said, "I made more friends in two hours than I have in two years. Plus, I'm finally part of a fun community that I enjoy being around and look forward to being with."

Her story shows we don't need more time or money to be happy, we need more ingenuity.

Please note: this didn't require a major life overhaul, it did require taking responsibiity for improving her quality of life vs. kvetching about it. She can't control everything (whether she lands a role on Broadway), she can control doing one thing every week that makes her like her life. Instead of feeling powerless and hopeless, she now feels powerful and hopeful.

Esther Hicks says, "My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hoook." 

Please understand, it's not selfish to do one thing every week you enjoy and look forward to, it's smart. Health and happiness are not indulgent, they're an investment.

Post your Happiness Box where you'll see it every day as a reminder that the quality of your life is in your hands. What will you do today your future self will thank you for?

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker, is on a mission to help people create the life, work and relationships of their dreams. Her books - including SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week - have been featured in NY Times, on NPR, and presented to Intel, Capital One, Cisco. Sheri Salata, (Exec. Producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show) calls Sam "One of the brightest lights and most accessible wisdom-sharers in our culture today."

Readers' Guide for Sam Horn's SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week

Remember, we're all in this ... alone." - Lily Tomlin

Thank heaven, we don't have to be in this all alone. We have the option of going it together. One of the goals of the SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week book is to catalyze conversation about what really matters.

Too often, we get busy and weeks (months? years?) go by without us talking about long-term goals or dreams that get pushed aside. It's easy for our values and priorities to get buried in the day-to-day and for resentments to start building up.

That's why I ended every chapter in my new book with 3-4 questions you can discuss with friends or a family member so you can go deep into the insights and talk about how they pertain to your personal and professional life.

Did you relate to the story that opened each chapter? When has that happened to you? What did it bring up for you? Whether it's "driving into hurricanes" or "watering dead plants," how did the real-life examples from myself and others prompt a fresh perspective?

What about the insights, exercises and quizes? Were they relevant for you? How so? What changes will you make - what action will you take - on something that's important to you?

The ten hacks and action steps are designed to elicit epiphanies around your health and happiness. Are you leading a meaningful, purposeful life? If so, how will you continue to do what puts the light on in your eyes? If not, what will you start, stop or do differently?

You might want to work through the book chapter by chapter with a friend, walking group, or book club. Assign a chapter a week (feel free to adapt that to suit your timeline) and lead a discussion where everyone has opportunities to share personal and professional AHA's. You might want to rotate who facilitate's the discuussion so everyone gets a chance.

Many people have told me these questions have led to some of the most honest conversations they've every had. One couple said filling out the Happiness Box together put the affection and romance back in their marriage. She said, "Little resentments had started piling up because we weren't talking honestly about the sacrifices we were making. We posted our Happiness Boxes on the frig so we can see them, update them every week, and figure out how to "swap time off" so we can each do one thing we enjoy."

And if you live or work by yourself and don't have anyone to discuss these questions with, reach out. Maybe there's a college friend you haven't talked to in awhile, a neighbor you used to live next to that you miss, a colleague at a previous job you really enjoyed.

Studies show we're "lonier" than ever. A February 9, 2019 New York Times article IsLoneliness a Health Epidemic? said it's a "sad reality of modern life."

But you can change that. Who is someone you know who would welcome a weekly opportunity to work through these structured questions together? It's an opportunity to talk honestly about what's working in your life, what's not, and what you plan to do about it with people who care, with people who have your back and front.

Research done by Harvard shows that "Relationships are THE key to enduring happiness." A primary point of the book is that meaningful conversation and connection about what matters is what will matter in the long run. WAITING for someone else to make the first move is a prescription for procrastination.

The goal of the SOMEDAY book is to be proactive, not passive, to take responsibility for our own happiness. One way to do that is to create a community you'd like to be part of. Discussing these questions can create a closeness that counteracts the isolation our culture.

One more suggestion? If you've read the book, you know it has more than 200 thought-provoking quotes on how we can create the quality of life we want now, not later.

In addition to answering the questions in this Readers;' Guide, you might also want to select a favorite quote from each chapter and share that with your group. Whether it's Esther Hicks' "My happiness is on me, so you're off the hook," or John Legend's "The future is already here and we're already late," theese inspiring quotes also have the power to provide insight.

And you might want to get the SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week Journal(which features a quote a day) so you can hold yourself accountable for reflecting on - and acting on - your intentions so you can turn them into a rewarding reality.

Readers’ Guide for Sam Horn's SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week 

LIFE HACK 1: EVALUATE Your Happiness History

Chapter 1. Play Hooky for a Day

1.     How would you spend your free day or afternoon? What would you do if the people you’re responsible for would be taken care of, and there would be NO repercussions?  

2.     What are three things you would not do on your day of hooky? Why?

3.     What were your answers to the boxes in the Happiness Quiz? Were they surprises? 

Chapter 2. Remember the Golden Days

1.     What were your top five priorities? What do you spend the most time on? Do your lists

match? If so, how so? How are you able to live in alignment with what matters to you?

2.     If your lists don’t match, why? What’s going on to cause the disparity?

3.     What questions from the Happiness Interview produced an aha? What insights did you get from delving into what is contributing to, or compromising, your happiness? 

Chapter 3. Adopt a Sense of Urgency

1.     Which of the reasons people gave for waiting resonated with you? Please elaborate how each particular reason has prevented you from doing what would make you happier?

2.     Did you do the pretend S.E.E.? What would you do if you only had a week to live? Is there some way you can actually do that, even part of it, now not someday? How so?

3.     When is a time you didn’t wait to do what was important to you? What gave you the clarity and confidence to act instead of procrastinate? How did it make you feel?

4.     Who do you know who you think of as “happy?” Who is a shining example of someone who DOES what they want now, not someday? What can you learn from their example?

LIFE HACK 2: GENERATE a Today Not Someday Dream

Chapter 4: Clarify What You Want

1.     Were you fortunate enough to have a calling, mission or passion project downloaded to you? What was it? Did you act on it? Why or why not? How has that affected your life?

2.     What is the mission statement you crafted? Where will you keep it in-sight, in-mind so it can help you make decisions that are in alignment with your purpose and true priorities?

3.     What do you want more of in your life? What would make your life more fulfilling? How you will give time to it to this week – instead of floating and waiting to do it someday?

Chapter 5: Put a Date on the Calendar

1. What would you like to experience or achieve by the end of this year? What is your Today, Not Someday Dream? When will you launch it? What “do-date” did you put on your calendar?

2. Now, start filling in the W’s … where, when, who, what, why. Who will you discuss this with so they can help you fill in the blanks so your dream goes from vague to vividly clear?

3. Where will you post your dream so it stays in-sight, in mind, and you are constantly re-inspired to do what you said you wanted to do?

LIFE HACK 3: ABDICATE Harmful Beliefs and Behaviors

Chapter 6. Just Say No to Nay-Sayers

1.     Do you have a nay-sayer who is telling you it’s wrong, foolish, or selfish to pursue your dream? Who is that person? What are they saying? What’s their real agenda? How has this person impacted you, up until now? Have they caused you to question yourself? Have they undermined your clarity, your courage, to grow and move forward?

2.     What will you do to speak up for yourself next time this person tries to undermine you? Or, what will you do to disassociate from this person or reduce their power over you?

3.     Who is a cheerleader who supports what you’re doing? How does this person help you grow and encourage you to be all you can be? How will you spend more time with this person so they give you the energy, tools, clarity and confidence to proceed?

Chapter 7. Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go

1.     How do you feel when you walk into your home? Where would your home rate on the Clutter (1) to Clean (10) Scale? How does that affect you? Do you feel guilty, stressed or frustrated with how things have piled up? Or do you feel proud, at peace with how well-designed, organized and beautiful things are?

2.     How much time do you spend cleaning, repairing, buying, renovating your stuff? Is that a source of enjoyment, a burden and chore, or something in between? Explain.

3.     Are you ready to down-size your home and/or release some belongings? How will you do that? Who else is impacted by this? How will you negotiate this with them? What could you do with the resources that would be freed up when you have less to take care of?

Chapter 8. Stop Driving into Hurricanes

1.     Can you relate to the “Why am I driving into a hurricane” story? What commitments are you keeping because you said you would? What are the consequences of that?

2.     Is there a time you “broke a promise” and, instead of it being a catastrophe, it actually led to a better situation? Please describe what happened.

3.     What is a stormy situation you’re in right now? Do you keep driving into this hurricane because you want to honor your commitment? Can you approach them, tell the truth as fast as you can, and explore options that have the potential to be a win for all involved?

LIFE HACK 4: INITIATE Daily Actions that Move Your Life Forward

Chapter 9. You Don’t Have to Know to Go

1.     Do you see yourself as brave? Why or why not? When is a time you tried something new and it worked out well? How can you tap back into that confidence and tell yourself, “If I did it before, I can do it again?”

2.     Were you brought up to see the world as a scary, dangerous place or a safe, adventurous place? How has that impacted your willingness to venture out on your own?

3.     What is something new you want to try? Are you getting conflicting advice? What’s your gut telling you? What if you took the bolder of the options and figured it out on the way?

Chapter 10. Honor the Nudges, Connect the Dots

1.     Do you make room for whims? Why or why not? When was a time you honored a nudge and acted on your intuition? What happened as a result?

2.     Do you think this is a lot of hooey? Does your intellect over-ride your instincts? Or, do you agree that if we have a sixth sense that alerts us to what’s wrong, we also have a sixth sense that alert us to what’s right? What are your beliefs about this?

3.     How will you honor the instincts that have your best interests at heart? How will you connect the dots, act on “coincidences” that beat the odds, and align with aligned individuals and opportunities that show up that “feel right?”

Chapter 11. Put Yourself in the Story

1.     Would you say you’re putting yourself in your own story? How so?

2.     When or how do you take yourself out of the story? Why?

3.     What was modeled for you about serving others? How has that supported or sabotaged your happiness? How will you strike a healthier balance between serving others and yourself? What is something you’ll do “just for yourself” this week? 

Chapter 12. Prevent the Rubber Band of Routine from Snapping Back

1. Have you found, despite your best intentions, that the Rubber Band of Routine snapped back and you’ve reverted to old ways? How so?

2. How will you use language to focus on what you do want instead of what you don’twant? For example, how could you turn empty days into open days?

3.What metrics will you assign to your dream so you have a measurable way to hold yourself accountable? How will you give yourself a “second chance” to get this change right and persevere to bring your life into alignment with your true priorities vs. reverting to old habits?

LIFE HACK 5: CELEBRATE What’s Right with Life, Right Here, Right Now

Chapter 13. Live in Day-Right Compartments

1.     Do you have a morning practice? If so, what is it? If not, why not?

2.     Do you find yourself getting caught up in the busyness of the world? Do you feel you’re losing connection with yourself and others? How so?

3.     What will you do to create a mindful ritual in the morning to get your day off to a good start? How will you belly-breathe or bring your mind to the present moment by using a SOMEDAY journal (or the equivalent) to keep the Happiness Hacks top-of-mind?

Chapter 14. Get Out of Your Head and Come to Your Senses

1.     When was the last time you saw something as if for the first or last time? Describe what happened and what it felt like.

2.     Do you have a busy, stressful life? What is the ongoing impact of rushing, rushing, rushing and always feeling “an hour late and a dollar short?

3.     Would you say you have “juice” in your camera? Do you look at the world with fresh eyes? When, where and how will you get out of your head and come to your senses?

Chapter 15. Get a Move On

1.     Would you say you appreciate your freedom of movement or do you take it for granted? What are you currently doing to take care of your body and health? Elaborate.

2.     What are you doing that is harming your body or jeopardizing your freedom of movement? Sitting? Smoking? Eating and drinking the wrong things? What? 

3.     Do you have a car? Is it a source of frustration or a source of freedom? When and where will you go for fun – by walking, driving, biking, flying or training - because you can?

Chapter 16. Free Up Time for Fun

1.     What do you do for fun? Do you have a hobby? Play a sport? Sing? Garden? What?

How often do you do this? How does it contribute to the quality of your life?

2.     What did you USE to do for recreation? Is that out of your life now? Why? Do you feel it’s frivolous, that you have more important things to do? Explain.

3.     How will you carve out time to have a good time? How will you bring more joy into your life? When, where and how will you do something that puts the light on in your eyes?

Chapter 17. Be Wealthy in What Matters

1.     Growing up, what were the messages you received about money? 

2.     On a scale of 1 – 10, how satisfied are you with the amount of money you make and have?  Do you have “enough” or is lack of money undermining your quality of life? Explain. What is your “number?” What do you envision happening when you reach it?

3.     How are you wealthy in what matters, right here, right now? Give an example of what you will do to imprint and appreciate your “good fortune” this week. Has a dream come true and you haven’t really acknowledged it? How will you rectify that?

LIFE HACK 6: AFFILIATE with People Who Have Your Back and Front

Chapter 18. Launch Your Ship in Public

1.     So, what is that venture you want to launch? Who has supported you, cheered you on? What have they done to help you achieve your goal and do what’s important to you?

2.     Who has cautioned you, told you (“for your own good”) that what you want to do won’t work or isn’t a good idea? What impact has that had on you?

3.     How will you take your dream public and give others a chance to jump on your bandwagon?  Will you create a vision board and/or host a Today, Not Someday party? Where did you post your vision so it stays in-sight, in-mind?

Chapter 19: Create a Community of One

1.     When was a time you had a room – or road – of your own? What did it mean to you? Where do you go now to escape? What do you do there? Why is it important to you?

2.     Ae you an introvert, extrovert or ambivert? How do you take responsibility for getting the right mix of being social and being solitary?

3.     Can you be alone without being lonely? Are you comfortable going places by yourself because you can connect with your surroundings and turn strangers into friends? How so?

LIFE HACK 7: INTEGRATE Your Passion and Profession 

Chapter 20. Blend Your Work and Recreation

1.     Did you used to see your work and recreation as separate? If so, why so? If not, how did you get clear you could have the best of both worlds by combining them?

2.     What skills, talents, hobbies do you have that you can integrate into your work? How can you integrate your passion and purpose into your profession so it benefits all involved?

3.      What do you currently work hard at? How, like the realtor/tennis player, can you combine your job and joy and make it more rewarding now, not later?

Chapter 21. Don’t Wait for Work You Love; Create Work You Love

1.     Do you love your job? Do you feel you’re adding value and contributing? How so?

2.      If you don’t find your work satisfying, why not? What talents or skills are you not having an opportunity to use or get credit for?

3.     What are your Four I’s? How could you leverage them into a paying career where you get paid to do it for others – or teach it to others? What is your next step? Will you visit crafts fairs to see how people have turned a passion into a profession? Elaborate.

LIFE HACK 8: NEGOTIATE for What You Want, Need and Deserve

Chapter 22. Stop Trying to Make People Happy; You’re Not Chocolate

1.     Are you too nice for your own good? Are you a people-pleaser who orders pasta you don’t want? How so? How does this impact you and the people around you?

2.     Have you been taking yourself out of the picture – and habitually putting others first? Was that modeled for you growing up? Why do you do that? What are the consequences?

3.     What is a specific situation where you haven’t been clear about what you want? How will you rectify that by saying what YOU want up front, now and in the future?

Chapter 23. If You Don’t Ask, the Answer’s Always NO

1.     When is a time you asked for something you wanted – whether it was a promotion, project lead or pay raise? How did you prepare? What was the result?

2.     When is a time you waited for someone to “do the right” thing, act on your behalf or give you what you deserved? As Dr. Phil would say, “How’d that work for you?”

3.     What is a situation you’re unhappy with right now? Which of the Four A’s have you used? How will you alter the situation by using the 5 P’s of Persuasion to increase the likelihood of improving this situation?

LIFE HACK 9: INNOVATE a Fresh Start

Chapter 24. Quit Watering Dead Plants

1.     Is the majority of your life out of your control and not to your liking? How so? Does this challenging time have a timeline? Can you “make your mind a deal it can’t refuse” so you are able to keep things in perspective?

2.     What do you currently do to maintain a positive perspective, to have something to look forward to in bleak times?  How do you stay focused on what you CAN control?

3.     Are there dead plants you can stop watering? What can you quit that is compromising your quality of life? How can you innovate a fresh start if you are going through dark times to keep the light on in your eyes?

Chapter 25. Do the Opposite of Your Always

1.     Would you describe your life, career or long-term relationships as an aircraft carrier? How so? Is it a successful carrier? Are people counting on you to stay on the carrier?

2.     Are you ready to fly off your carrier now and then so you can be by yourself or so you can be yourself? Where on earth would you like to go? What do you want to do?

3.     What is a local place that could be your Utah, the Third Place where you could go to work on a priority project? When will you go there? What will you work on there?

LIFE HACK 10: RELOCATE to Greener Pastures

Chapter 26. Give Yourself a GFS - Geographic Fresh Start

1.     Would you say you’re a roots person or a wings person? What does that mean to you?

2.     Are you happy where you are in your current home? In your neighborhood, city and state? If so, what do you like about it? If not, what don’t you like about it?

3.     If you could move, where would you go? What would it take for you to move? Imagine it in full detail. Write out the steps to move this from being a vague idea to a vivid reality.

Chapter 27. Come Full Circle

1.     When was the last time you were in your hometown? What memories did it bring back? Did you reconnect with people that influenced you? Did it catalyze a new creative direction that could be a satisfying full-circle way to come home to who you truly are?

2.     What used to light you up, but it feels like it might be a retreat or regression to “go back there?” Do you worry it’s thinking small instead of thinking big? Could it actually be you’re going “home” to who you are at your core, your best self?

3.     Do you agree with Ram Dass that we can be “at home” wherever we are and that “home” is a mindset, not a location? Where do you feel most at home?

Chapter 27. Welcome What’s NEXT

1.     Are you ready for a fresh start, for a new adventure? What NEXT could put the light on in your eyes?

2.     Do you agree with philosophers that living in the now is the miracle – or do you believe happiness can be a balance of the past, present and future?

3.     How will you keep your antenna up for a NEXT that’s in alignment with your values and priorities? What will you say to yourself when that opportunity arises so you act on it?

Hope you're found these questions inspiring, insightful and useful. Even more importantly, I hope they've motivated you to get crystal clear on your values and priorities, and that you've taken steps to create a life that is in alignment with them now, not someday.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of The INTRIGUE AGENCY and TEDx speaker, is the author of POP! , Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? which have been endorsed by Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Marshall Goldsmith, quoted in New York Times, Forbes and Fast Company and presented to National Geographic, NASA, Intel, Cisco, Capital One, YPO. This Readers Guide is from her latest book SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week, endorsed by Geneen Roth, Dorie Clark, Kamal Ravikant and Sheri Salata (fomer Executive Producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show) who says Sam is "one of the brighest lights and most accessible wisdom-sharers in our culture today."



JOMO - Joy Of Missing Out

"If you're an ambivert, you might want to replace FOMO (FEAR of Missing Out) with JOMO (JOY of Missing Out)." - Sam Horn

I was surprised when a popular speaker told me she's an introvert. She said, “People don’t believe it because I'm such a public person, but I find it exhausting to be 'on' all the time.”

I told her, “I can relate. I got clarity about this last year. I had flown cross country to attend a conference. By the third day, I was running on empty. I remember looking at the afternoon sessions and realizing what I really wanted was go back to my hotel room and take a nap.”

She laughed, “You just described how I feel. What did you do?”

"Well, the little voices in my head argued for a while. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) voice said, ‘You didn’t pay all this money and fly all this way to take a nap. You can sleep on the plane home.’ The other voice said, ‘But I'm tapped out. I need some alone time.”

She asked, “So which voice won?”

“I ended up going back to my hotel room. And I’m glad I did. I was able to recharge and come back downstairs for the evening program, raring to go.’

She said, “But didn't you regret it? Who knows who you could have met or what you could have learned if you had gone to those extra sessions.”

“Here’s the thing. I’ve learned there are three kinds of people.

1. Introverts who are energized by solitude.

2. Extroverts who are energized by socialization.

3. Ambiverts who are energized by a combination of solitude and socialization.

I'm an ambivert. I enjoy being around people and I also enjoy not being around people. It's not an either/or - it's both - and it's essential to my well-being.”

My colleague looked stunned. “I didn’t know ambiverts was a thing, but that’s totally me.”

“I’ve discovered authors, artists and entrepreneurs often fall into this category because we are both public and private people. Our job often calls for us to perform our work with or for people. We can be good at that and grateful for it. We also have an equal need for space and privacy which is where we re-energize. It's where we think about and create our work.”

How about you? Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or a mix of both?

Does your life and work require you to be around people? Can you do that for awhile, but then find yourself wanting to "get away?" Even when spending time with family members or friends, do you sometimes find yourself craving space?

That doesn't make you a loner or a bad person ... that makes you an ambivert.

Wild author Cheryl Strayed says, "Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren't a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”

From now on, don't apologize for needing "room" to be who you really are and don't compromise it. It's not indulgent, it's an investment for you to nurture your soul with space.

What I've discovered as an ambivert is how important it is to balance our public and private time. To do that, we've got to replace FOMO with JOMO - JOY of Missing Out.

It's not selfish to occasionally go SOULO, it's smart.

If you're going to a conference, don't force yourself to go to all the sessions because you're afraid you won't get full value if you don't. Understand that "down" time is essential to absorb and process what you've learned. Getting away for some time to yourself is crucial to re-fueling and coming back fresh, ready to meet and greet.

Understand it's not stand-offish or narcissistic to carve out "alone time;" it contributes to a happier, healtheir you. You are at your best when you have the best ... of both worlds.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker - is on a mission to help people create the life and work of their dreams. Her books - Tongue Fu!, POP!, Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? and SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, on NPR and taught to Boeing, Intel, Cisco, Nationwide, YPO, Capital One.

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It's About Time: 20 Quotes to Motivate Us To Make the Most of Our Days

“The thing is, we think we have time.” – Buddha

My dad thought he had time. His dream was to visit all the National Parks when he retired. He worked six-seven days a week most of his life. He was an honorable man who felt a deep obligation to make an enduring difference for the people he worked with and for.

He achieved that goal. But at a cost.

Dad finally took off on his long-delayed dream a week after he retired. A week after that, he had a stroke in a hotel bathroom. He eventually recovered, but he never got to visit Banff, Zion or the Grand Tetons. He never got to do what he had dreamed of doing his whole life.

I don’t want that to happen to me.

I don’t want that to happen to you.

I don’t want that to happen to anyone.

Please, right now, change your perspective about TIME.

Change the way you think about it. Change the way you talk about it. Because it matters.

Do you talk about “never having enough time?”

About being “behind time?” About waiting until you have “more time?”

Please understand you will never have MORE TIME than you have RIGHT NOW.

The only way to make the most of your time is to spend it on what really matters now, not someday. Assuming you’ll have a chance to do what’s important later is a path to regrets.

Take three minutes right now to figure out one thing that is important to you in the following six areas of life. Assign a time metric to these time intentions so you have a way to hold yourself accountable for them.

I’ve provided a few examples to prompt your thinking. Please write down what comes to mind because what occurs to you first is often top-of-mind because it's calling you.

Relationships: I will:

· Go on Date Night with my partner once a week.

· Read bedtime stories to my kids 5 nights a week.

· Call my mom every Sunday night.

· Host Game Night with friends every other Monday

· ­­­­­__________________________________________

Health: I will:

· Go for a 30 minute walk six days a week.

· Eat lean, green and protein (no carbs) for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

· Work out with a personal trainer three times a week.

· Make a long-overdue appointment with my doctor and dentist today.

· ________________________________________________________

Career: I will:

· Schedule an appointment this week with my boss to discuss a project I’d like to lead.

· Register for an industry conference or professional training in the next two months.

· Sign up for Toastmasters or LinkedIn training to improve my communication skills.

· Volunteer to mentor a junior employee or new-hire for a hour once-a-week.

· ___________________________________________________________

Contribution: I will:

· Contribute to a friend’s Go Fund Me or Kickstarter campaign this week.

· Volunteer at the animal shelter, my church or a local non-profit twice a month.

· Give a 50% tip every week to a service employee (e.g., waiter, maid, taxi driver).

· Establish an annual scholarship to support the education of others in my profession.

· ____________________________________________________________________

Finance: I will:

· Sit down with my family at our holiday meal to discuss my estate plans.

· Establish a monthly budget with a max for household purchases, entertainment, etc.

· Schedule an appt. this month with a disability and long-term health insurance expert.

· Hire an accountant/bookkeeper this month to organize my taxes and financial records.

· ­­­­­______________________________________________________________

Personal Development/Interests: I will:

· Play a sport - tennis, racquetball, pickle ball - at least twice a week.

· Join the writer’s support group at my local bookstore and start my book this week.

· Plan a summer cruise to the Bahamas that I’ve been wanting to go on for years.

· Sign up for a cooking course and host monthly dinners with new recipes for friends.

· ­­­______________________________________________________

Want a way to make this fun? Print this post out and take it to lunch with a friend. Or print it out and discuss it over dinner with you and your partner or with your family.

Divvy up the time so each person gets a minimum of ten minutes to talk through how they plan to invest their time in each area.

Please notice the verb invest. From now on, the goal is to invest your time mindfully, instead of spend it mindlessly.

Invest means making thoughtful choices about how, where, why, to what and to whom you allocate your time so you're making meaningful use of it.

To that purpose, I’m sharing 20 thought-provoking quotes on time that can increase your awareness and appreciation of the all-important role it plays in your quality of life.

Simply said, being more mindful of how you invest your time is the single best thing you can do to create a quality of life that is congruent with your values and priorities.

Aviation pioneer Chuck Yeager said, "At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results." Investing your time wisely is a tantible way to produce results instead of regrets.

You might want to post these quotes where they’re in sight, in mind so you keep how you invest your time … top of mind.

20 Motivating Quotes to Make the Most of Your Time

1. “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” - Carl Sandburg

2. “The bad news? Time flies. The good news? You’re the pilot.” – Michael Altschuler

3. “One day, you’re going to wake up and there won’t be any time left to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.” – Paulo Coelho

4. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” – nurse Bonnie Ware, reporting the #1 regret of people at the end of their life

5. “We have two lives and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” – Confucius

6. “The future is already here and we’re already late.” – John Legend

7. “Now is the new later.” – Sam Horn

8. “Tomorrow is another day, but so was yesterday.” – Rene Ricard

9. “The first step to getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” – J.P. Morgan

10. “Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time' is like saying, 'I don't want to.” - Lao Tzu

11. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

12. “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” – Charles Darwin

13. “If you’ve made a decision and haven’t taken action, you haven’t really made a decision.” – Tony Robbins

14. “It’s only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day to day basis.” – Margaret Bonnano

15. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

16. “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” – Henry David Thoreau

17. “How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss

18. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis

19. “We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” – Nelson Mandela

20. Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” – M. Scott Peck

Pope Paul II said, “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”

The time is ripe to value yourself and value your time. The time is ripe to change your future by beginning to invest your time in what will matter in the long run … today, not someday.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people make the most of their time, now not later. Her books - POP!, Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention - have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, INC and Fast Company and presented to NASA, Intel, Cisco, Boeing, ASAE. This is excerpted from SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week (St. Martins Press, 2019).

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Are You Putting Your Dreams on Hold?

Palliative care nurse Bonnie Ware asked people at the end of their life their #1 regret. Know what it was?

“I wish I’d had the COURAGE to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Does this resonate with you? Why?

The question is, What are you going to do about it? When are you going to do something about it?

And please don't say, "Someday."

If there's anything I've learned in the past few years, it's that SOMEDAY is not a day in the week. SOMEDAY is a path to - and a prescription for - regrets.

I'm speaking from experience.

Several years ago, I promised myself I'd "pull a John Grisham" and write first thing every morning. That's what Grisham did before he hit it big with his bestselling books. His dream was to write novels, but he was a full-time lawyer raising a family. He could have told himself he was "too busy to write." Instead, he got up at 5 am every day and wrote before he went into work. He's now living his dream because he bet on it instead of putting it on hold.

If only I'd had the clarity and discipline of John Grisham. My good intentions to write every morning lasted a few weeks, then I hit the road for a month of speaking engagements. The next thing I knew my writing project was on the shelf ... again.

It took a health scare for me to finally stop postponing my dream to make writing a priority.

I’d been battling a respiratory infection for weeks, but “soldiered” through it because I had places to be, people counting on me. I kept hoping it would get better. It didn’t.

One morning I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. A friend rushed me to Urgent Care. After checking my lungs and reviewing my X-rays, the doctor diagnosed Walking Pneumonia. While writing out the prescription, he asked, “Why did you wait so long to get this taken care of?”

I made some mealy-mouthed excuse about being too busy to go to the doctor. He shrugged and said, “You’re lucky. I’m giving you a Z-pack and you’ll be better in ten days. But this was a warning. If you don’t start taking better care of yourself, your body will do something more drastic to get your attention.”

Well, that got my attention and gave me enough incentive to turn my “Someday I'm going to ...” into a “Today I will...”

What Are You Postponing?

“Life, as it is called, is for most of us one long postponement.” – Henry Miller

The question is, why did I postpone what was calling me? Why do so many of us procrastinate on our dreams and true priorities when we know they would make us happier and healthier?

We’re supposed to know better, right? Yet many of us continue to put off what’s important to us, idealistically assuming we’ll always have the option to do them later.

A young father named Jeff told me, “I don’t dream anymore. It’s too painful. I just keep my head down, put one foot in front of the other, and do the best I can.”

Ouch. When I asked what he meant, he said, “I love my family. I really do. But my life is nothing like I thought it would be. My wife and I both work full time. One of our sons has special needs. He never sleeps through the night so we're both exhausted. Maybe someday I’ll have the luxury to do more of what I want, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Jeff’s story was a variation of what many people have told me, “Doing what I want is just not an option. I’ve got too many obligations to think about that now.”

How about you? Do you feel your life is not your own? Do you feel your current situation is “just the way it is” and there's nothing you can do about it?

No. It’s not “just the way it is.” Certainly, there are some things beyond our control. Having a child with special needs is beyond our control. Having a parent with dementia is beyond our control. Our company going bankrupt and putting us out of work is beyond our control.

Yet, as Victor Frankl pointed out in his classic Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing - the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

In other words, we may not be able to control what happens to us; we can control what we do about it. You have more autonomy than you think. You may not be able to change your circumstances, you can change the way you deal with them.

The Most Frequently-Given Reasons for Why We Put Our Dreams on Hold

“Do you know the #1 prerequisite for change? A sense of urgency.” – John Kotter Please take a moment to look over the reasons below that people give for not doing more of what they want. Please ask yourself if any of these are true for you.

1. TIME: Are you waiting until you have more time to do what you want? Please understand, you'll never have more time than you have right now. As John Legend says, “The future is already here and we’re already late.”

2. MONEY: CNN Money reports, “78% of Americans say they live paycheck to paycheck.” Some people tell me they don't have enough money to do what they want. Please reframe that. You can be wealthy in what really matters for free. I was in a park yesterday watching a young couple with their toddler. They were blowing bubbles and having a grand time. I thought, “They could have paid thousands of dollars to travel to Disneyland and they wouldn’t be having a better time than they’re having right here, right now.” As Garth Brooks says, “You’re not wealthy until you have something money can’t buy.”

3. FAMILY RESPONSIBILITES: A woman told me, “I took a golden parachute deal from my company so I could retire early. What I didn’t anticipate was both my parents would be diagnosed with dementia. I’m now a full-time caregiver. This is not how I envisioned spending my fifties and sixties.” How about you? Are you so busy taking care of everyone else, there’s no time or energy left for you? Please understand, taking an hour a week do do something that makes you happy isn't selfish, it's smart. As Byron Katie says, "My happiness is on me, so you're off the hook."

4. WORK PRIORITIES: A Gallup poll reports “72% of people are uninspired and unhappy at work, yet 52% don’t take their full paid vacation.” What’s that about? Stanford professor Denise Brosseau told me, “In the Silicon Valley, it’s almost a badge of honor to ‘sleep under your desk.’ Sixty-hour weeks are the norm.” How about you? Does all your work have to be done before you make time for fun? Please understand, it's not indulgent to carve out time for fun; it's an investment in your mental and physical well-being.

5. HEALTH CHALLENGES: Are you dealing with aches, pains, a disability, injury or illness? Or, are you not exercising or eating right, but you're promising yourself you’ll take better care of yourself after the weekend's over? One way to make your life more of what you want it to be now is to start appreciating your "freedom of motion." Here's how.

6. FEAR OF CHANGE: Change can be scary. Know what’s scarier? Regrets. The good news is, change doesn't require courage - it requires clarity. Clarity that life is supposed to be an adventure and it's waiting for us to make the most of it. As author Louis L’Amour said, “We can’t learn anything from experiences we’re not having.”

7. “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT.” A friend delivered the commencement address at her alma mater. The graduates took the stage for a group photo and, with a grand flourish, opened their robes to reveal t-shirts underneath that said, “I don’t know.” Sound familiar? It’s hard to go after what we want if we don’t know what we want. This 4 Boxes of Happiness Quiz can help kick-start your clarity.

It’s Never Too Late – Or Too Early – to Change Things for Good

“Things don’t get better by chance, they get better by change.” – Jim Rohn

Did you relate to any of the above reasons? Please understand, even if these reasons have been true for you in the past, they don’t have to be true for you in the future.

One of the many wonderful things about being a human being is we can change for good - on any given day. All we have to do is identify one thing we’re going to do differently and attach a sense of urgency to it so we’re motivated to do it now, not in the far off future.

One of my favorite success stories about this happened in a conference breakout session in Waikiki. A woman named Beverly raised her hand in the Q & A and said, “I’ve been to motivational programs before. I go home all fired up, then life intervenes, and two weeks later everything is back to same old, same old. Any suggestions?”

I told her, “Have a pretend S.E.E. to give yourself a sense of urgency."

She said, "What's that?"

"An S.E.E. is a Significant Emotional Event. Unfortunately, most are dramatic or traumatic. We get sick, divorced, or fired which forces us to re-evaluate the way we’re living. We realize there are no guarantees which motivates us to focus on what matters now. The way I see it, why not have a pretend S.E.E. so we get the epiphany without the pain?”

“What’s an example of a pretend S.E.E.?”

“We can do one right here, right now. Just ask yourself, “If I only had a week to live, what would I stop doing? What would I start doing? What would I do differently?”

“You’re asking us to imagine we’re going to croak in a week? Isn’t that a bit morbid?”

I smiled, “Thinking about our mortality isn’t morbid; it’s motivating. Sometimes it’s just the incentive we need to stop taking our life, health, loved ones and freedoms for granted.”

She said, “Okay, I’ll play along. If I only had a week to live, I would stop letting fear rule my life and start doing things that scare me.”

“Like what?”

“Like going into the ocean. I watched JAWS when I was a kid. Big mistake. Here I am in Hawaii and I haven’t even gone into the water.”

I said, “Okay, let’s hack that fear. One way to hack fears is to realize they don’t prevent things from going wrong; they prevent things from going right.

Do you know about the protected swim area by the Natatorium where Duke Kahanamoku used to swim? It’s only three feet deep so there’s no way you can get in over your head, and there’s only one small opening in the sea wall so the surf can’t get in … and neither can the sharks. The key to overcoming procrastination is to put a ‘do date’ on the calendar so you don’t wiggle out of your intentions. When are you leaving the islands?”

“We fly out in two days.”

“Then tomorrow is the day. Schedule a 6 a.m. wake-up call. When the alarm goes off and you’re tempted to roll over and go back to sleep, ask yourself, ‘What will matter a year from now? That I got an extra hour of sleep? Or that I got up, got outside and had a one-of-a-kind experience I’ll always be grateful for?”

“It’s worth a try. But why 6 am?”

“Because sunrise is at 6:30 am and you want to be at water’s edge, ready to step into the ocean the moment the sun rises over Diamond Head. It will be what Hawaiians call a ‘chicken skin’ experience. Experiences are more meaningful when they’re metaphors. You’re not just stepping into the ocean, you’re stepping into a new way of life where you remember your mortality and make the most of your days now, not someday.”

I added, “Here’s my card with my number. Text me and let me know how it goes, okay?”

The next day I received a three word text "I DID IT" accompanied by a photo of a smiling-from-ear-to-ear, dripping wet Beverly.

What dream have you been postponing?

Could you ask yourself, “What will matter a year from now?” and have a pretend S.E.E. to give yourself a sense of urgency so you’re motivated to act on it today?

Aviation pioneer Chuck Yeager said, “At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results."

If you results instead of regrets, stop putting your dreams on hold. Bet on them, act on them today .. instead of promising yourself you'll do them someday.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and author of SOMEDAY is NOT a Day in the Week, is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work thats adds value for all involved. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu!, POP! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times and presented to Intel, Capital One, NASA, Boeing, YPO, Cisco.

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NOW is the New LATER

At a recent SOMEDAY salon, I listened in to a small group of people who were discussing what they'd put in Square 2 of the Happiness Box. (You can find it here.) Kimberly, a 30-something bank employee said, “I didn't even have to think about it. I put down travel. I took a gap year between high school and college. I got a Eurorail pass, toured Europe, stayed in hostels and backpacked with people I met along the way. It was the best time of my life. I haven’t traveled out of the country since I got a ‘real job’ ten years ago and I miss it.”

I said, “Okay, let’s get more specific. Travel where?”

She thought about it for a moment and then brightened as she thought of a place she had always wanted to visit. “Nepal.”

“What do you want to do there? Trek the Himalaya’s?”

Her eyes brightened more as she started seeing this in her mind’s eye. “Yes.”

“All right, let’s get more specific. How much time do you have?"

"Ten days. Well, I get two weeks for vacation, but I want to save a couple days for something else just in case."

"Got it. Do you want to go by yourself or with a guided group?”

She started warming to the topic, “I want to go with an all-women’s group.”

The woman next to her said, “I know someone who did that. She had a fabulous time. The tour operator handled all the details. You just have to show up. What’s your number and I’ll text you her contact info.”

When I moved on, they were animatedly discussing details of the trip. Kimberly's vague wish went from something she wrote in Square 2 to something that had already “come alive” in her mind and that had a much higher likelihood of happening.

That is the power of using specifics to turn a SOMEDAY into a TODAY. That's the power of fleshing out the details of what you'd like to do so you're already mentally experiencing it.

How about you? Is there something you hope to do LATER when you have more time, money, clarity, freedom, whatever? What if that never happens? Later may be too late.

The key to turning an “I'd like to” into a “I will" is to fill out your W5 Form.

WHAT exactly do you want to do, see, experience? What resources do you need? What is the next step to making this happen? ______________ 2. WHY does this light you up? Why is this exciting to you, something you would enjoy or find meaningful? ______________________________

3. WHERE specifically do you want to go? Where would this take place? Online? Another city or country? _______________________________

4. WHEN would you go, launch this, start or finish it ?________________

5. WHO would you go with? Or WHO do you want to meet, connect with? Who can help make this happen or help you move it forward?________________

The more W’s you picture for your project, the more “real” it becomes in your mind’s eye. Visualizing what you want with vivid W’s turns something vague into something visceral.

Pearl S. Buck said, “Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream, whatever that dream might be.”

What takes away a dream is not committing a date to it on your calendar.

If you want results instead of regrets, fill out and post your W5 Form – What? Why? When? Where? Who? - where you’ll see it every day.

The more detailed you get, the more invested you are, and the most invested you are, the more likely it is your dream will come true.

So, what is something you've been planning to do later?

How are you doing to set it in motion - even if that means putting a date on the calendar - NOW instead of waiting for the perfect time, place or person?

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How to Create a More Beautiful Mind and Life … with Poet David Whyte

What a gift of a day. Experienced a workshop with corporate poet David Whyte – who is the real deal. He delivered dozens of profound insights distilled into crafted sentences that resonated and reverberated with everyone in the room.

It’s hard to pick a favorite of the many “iceberg ideas” he shared. A few include:

* “All of spirituality can be expressed in the footprint of friendship.”

* “Innocence is the ability to be found by the world … again and again.”

* Just beyond yourself is where you need to be.”

* “Drink from the stream of generosity and turn your palms out to receive the blessings of the world.”

Everyone in that room felt blessed to be there because David was so congruent, generous and “lit up” whiile sharing his work.

As a presentation coach, it’s fun to analyze WHY he was able to keep us engaged from start to finish. Here are a few observations as to why he is a master poet and a master presenter:

1. He was a walking-talking example of CENTERED STRENGTH (no toxic masculinity here).

2. His knowledge was a SOCRATIC OFFERING (he wasn’t coming from ego or arrogance).

3. There was an absence of trying to prove, impress or self-promote.

4. He clearly loved being there – so we did too. He would often break into full-body laughter and had a little-boy delight that was contagious in the best sense of the word

5. His DELIBERATE RECITATIONS and REPETITIONS took us deeper into the work. Instead of racing through his words, (which would have kept us on the surface), he was at peace with silence. He let the words sink in so we could absorb and reflect on them.

He modeled how important it is to SLOW DOWN instead of rushing through material to “get it all in before we run out of time.” That exhausts people and causes them to feel overwhelmed and like they “can’t keep up.” He intentionally repeated passages with different inflection and long pauses so we got something new each time.

6. His use of alliteration, rhythm and juxtaposition – the Bell and the Blackbird – made his metpahorical insights even more evocative and open to interpretation so they were personally meaningful for every single one of us.

All in all, it was a Jack Nicholson kind of day. (Smile.)

Know what I mean? Remember the movie AS GOOD AS IT GETS?

Toward the end of the movie, Helen Hunt asks Jack’s character, “Give me a compliment.”

He says, “That’s a pretty dress.”

She says, “No, pay me a real compliment.”

He seems to realize the future of their relationship depends on his ability to come up with something more meaningful. He blurts out, “You make me want to be a better man.”

That day with David made me want to be better person.

If you’re not already familiar with David’s inspiring work, check him out. His walking tours in Europe, poetry programs on how to create a more beautiful mind and life, and leadership workshops around the country just might help your “heart meet your horizon.”

Where and What is Your "Utah?"

"Other people have analysis. I have Utah." - Robert Redford One of the most important epiphanies from my Year by the Water was that we don't have to be anti-social to be pro-solitude.

What do I mean by that?

Well, last April I was driving out in the middle of nowhere listening to the Audible version of Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road.

I had always pictured Texas as hot, flat and barren. But this was spring. Much to my surprise, everything was green, rolling, vibrant. I didn't know what was over the next knoll, all I knew was it was going to be something interesting I'd never seen before.

I was driving at golden hour - that blessed hour right before the sun goes down and the air shimmers with special light. I came over a rise and there, stretched out to the horizon, were golden fields. I gasped out loud at the sheer beauty of it, pulled over, shut off the car engine and stepped outside to bask in its splendor. The only sound was a slight breeze through the leaves of a nearby tree.

I will always remember that exquisite experience. I can still see it in my mind's eye months later.

I got back in the car and resumed driving while listening to Gloria share stories and insights from her life. She quoted Virginia Woolf who believed, "Every woman needs a room of her own."

I laughed out loud as I realized, "I have a ROAD of my own."

I truly revel in my independence. To me, an open road means freedom, autonomy, the opportunity to go anywhere I want when I want to. It's esstential to life feeling right.

I stopped at a steak house that night for dinner. The waiter asked where I was from, and I told him about driving cross-country visiting bodies of water and writing about them. He was intrigued and asked where I'd been that day. I told him about my experience with the golden fields.

He said, somewhat incredulous, "You're doing this by yourself? Aren't you lonely??

I told him, "I'm never lonely as long as I'm paying attention."

He persisted, "I wouldn't want to drive cross-country unless I had someone to share it with. It seems like it'd be kind of an empty experience."

I smiled because, to me, that experience wasn't empty, it was alive. There wasn't absence, there was presence.

I told him, "Connection isn't just with people. I was connected to those fields and with that moment. I've found that as long as I'm appreciating what I'm seeing, feeling, thinking and hearing, I'm never really alone."

I could tell he didn't relate to what I was saying. When I got back on the road, I asked myself, "Why is it that I crave space? Why is that I don't feel "bereft" when I'm by myself?"

I think part of it is I feel connected to loved ones even when we're not together. The connection I have with my loved ones exists even when we're miles apart. They're with me ... even when they're not with me.

The fact is, I am an ambivert. I enjoy being with people and I enjoy not being with people. I am both a public person and a private person.

Being around smart, talented, interesting people energizes me. And exploring new places and spaces on my own energizes me. It's not an either-or, it's both. Socialization and solitude are two sides of the coin of a creatively productive life.

What I know fur sure is that I need time and space to "mull and muse."

What do I mean by "mull and muse?" Time and space to reflect on what I've seen, heard, read. Time to roll thoughts around in my head. To observe the world around me from all angles. To savor ideas and insights like you would a ripe piece of fruit. To connect dot thoughts in new ways.

Perhaps my favorite example of someone who also seemed to operate best with a mix of socialization and solitude was ... Abraham Lincoln.

Several years ago, I was hired to train the board of Entrepreneurs Organization in public speaking. As a special treat, they arranged for a private group dinner at Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington DC following our day-long training.

I got there an hour before the others arrived. The first thing I noticed as I walked in was how "spare" the cottage was. Each room had only a few items. A desk. A chair. A small table with a lamp. It was as if the walls were whispering, "Space to think. Space to think."

I instantly got it. This was where Lincoln came to be alone with his thoughts. Where he escaped the pressures of the White House and found much-needed solitude to reflect upon our history and create a visionary document that changed the course of our nation.

I don't imagine Lincoln felt "lonely" while writing that magnum opus. I imagine his mind and soul were on fire. I imagine he welcomed the opportunity to write without distractions.

I had a great life before I took off for my Year by the Water. However, like many people, I was going, going, going. There weren't many opportunities to be alone with my thoughts ... much less to reflect on them or write about them. I now have that time ... and I honor it.

Many creatives talk about their need for head space so they can do original work. Being alone is when they are able to dig deep - without interruption - and envision new ideas, original art, innovative break-throughs. It is where they access the exquisite state of flow.

Yet in today's "crazy busy" world, too few of us have time for contemplation. That's why I'm sharing these inspiring quotes about the importance of making time and space for ideation.

I hope these quotes catalyze insight - maybe even a conversation with friends and family members - about why you crave a room or road of your own to connect with your creativity.

And I hope you never again feel a need to apologize for needing space. It's not selfish, it's smart. Solitude and socialization are not mutually exclusive; they are the best of both worlds.

1. "The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we're alone." - Mitch Albom

2. ”We need society, and we need solitude, as we need summer and winter, day and night, exercise and rest.” – Phillip G. Hamerton

3. ”Being solitary is being alone well: luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others.” Alice Koller

4. ”To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.” – Jeanne Moreau

5. ”The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” - Aldous Huxley

6. ”It is only in solitude that I ever find my own core.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

7. ”When you acknowledge the integrity of solitude, and settle into its mystery, your relationships with others take on a new warmth, adventure and wonder.” – John O’Donahue

8. ”Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” – Barbara de Angelis

9. ”Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once.” – Robert Browning

10. "Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone; solitude expresses the glory of being alone." - Paul Tillich

11. "Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren't a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.” —Cheryl Strayed

Where and what is your Utah? Where do you retreat to be yourself by yourself?

Pablo Picasso said, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose is to give it away."

Please understand that part of of your legacy is contributing your gifts - your writing, startup, art, songs, screenplay, painting, sculpture, art, music, solutions, vision.

How, when and where will you give yourself a room - or road - of your own?

When will you temporarily "escape" from people and schedule in time for creative solitude so you can muse and mull your reflections, experiences, insights, stories?

It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. It's not indulgent, it's an investment.

Is It SELFISH To Do What Makes You HAPPY?

“My happiness is on me; so you’re off the hook.” – Byron Katie Have you ever driven California’s spectacular Pacific Coast Highway? If so, you’re familiar with its many hairpin turns. In the day, you can see what’s ahead and adapt accordingly.

But I made a big mistake and got there at dusk. And what happened taught me a BIG lesson about the dangers of a “put other people first” default.

During the day, you can look ahead and adapt to the hairpin turns. But it was pitch black with no moon, which meant I couldn't see anything. The switchbacks kept disappearing out from underneath my headlights. I had no idea what was coming next. Left. Right. Left. Left. It felt like my brain was sloshing back and forth in my skull. I completely lost my equilibrium even though I was crawling along at 15-20 mph.

I kept telling myself, “I can do this, I can do this. Three hours from now, I’ll be safe and sound in my Morro Bay hotel room.”

Suddenly, a truck zoomed up behind me and flashed its brights. I did what I’d been taught to do growing up in a small mountain valley. I looked for the next pull-out and pulled off the road to let the driver behind me go ahead.

The problem was, the pull-out was shorter than anticipated... and gravel. I started braking. I started sliding. The harder I braked, the more I slid. I finally came to a stop a few feet from the cliff’s edge.

I sat there and shook. The truck was long gone. It was just me, the deserted road, (and I know this sounds dramatic but it's true), my realization that my lifelong default of putting other people first had just about cost me my life.

Sound familiar? Is your default, “No, you go ahead. You go first.”

If you’re a parent, caregiver or leader, this may have become your norm. You may feel it’s your responsibility to put your family, your patients, your employees first.

At what cost? Putting everyone else first and yourself last is an extreme, and any extreme is unhealthy. It causes you to lose your equilibrium. To compromise your own health. To sacrifice your own happiness. And what's worse, it teaches the people around you that you believe you don’t count, that your needs don't matter.

Is that what you want to teach? Is martyrdom the model you want to pass along?

That close call on Hwy 1 made me wonder, “Where did I learn this? How did I learn this?”

Well, as with many things, it started at home. My mom was an example of unconditional love. She was also sick the last twenty years of her life, dealing with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis (which was later discovered to have been a misdiagnosed brain tumor.)

My mom was in pain almost every day. If I put my hand anywhere near her neck, I could feel the pain waves vibrating off it. Yet, she didn’t want to be “a burden” so she soldiered on. I would ask, “Can I help with dinner, Mom? Want me to do the dishes?”

“No thanks, hon, I’ve got it.”

She rarely, if ever, talked about her illness. She didn’t want to be a “complainer.” She always wanted to know what we were doing, what was going on with our lives. She never asked for anything for herself. If we offered, she usually demurred, not wanting to “put us out.”

My mom did what she thought was the right thing, at great personal cost. What we learned from her example though was probably not what she intended.

Yes, we received and learned about unconditional love, and I will always be grateful for that.

We also learned to not ask for help or accept help. We learned to be “strong” and not share our pain. We learned that the last thing we wanted to be was a “burden.” We learned that putting other people's happiness first, and not thinking of our own, was the noble thing, the right thing, to do.

Serving others IS a noble thing. And it’s even more noble when we balance it with serving ourselves. That’s what we want to model – that we take care of ourselves while taking care of others.

How about you? Are you running on empty? Burnout is a clear sign you’re not enforcing your boundaries - or that you don’t have any boundaries. Exhaustion is an indication you are putting everyone else first – and yourself last.

Next time you’re about to say "No, you go ahead. You go first," next time you're about to take yourself out of the equation, ask yourself:

· Am I putting this person’s needs first and not even considering my own?

· Am I sacrificing what I want to give this person what s/he wants?

· Is this a one-time thing – or an ongoing pattern?

· How will this impact me in the moment and over the long term?

· Is there a way I can serve this person and myself at the same time?

· How can I take responsibility for – and speak up on behalf of – my own health and happiness?

Jack Kornfield said, “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”

Starting today, please understand, it is not selfish to put yourself in your own story, it’s smart.

It’s not indulgent to take responsibility for your own health and happiness, it’s inspiring .

Every time you do, you show it’s possible to serve others and ourselves, and you set a precedent that gives people around you permission and inspiration to do the same.

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What is Your "Pause Before the POP-UP?"

I had an opportunity to attend a book event featuring William Finnegan, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.” I’d been listening to the Audible version of his book and loved his eloquent, insightful tales of growing up in Hawaii as a "haole" and then traveling the world chasing waves.

I lucked out by scoring the last ticket to his sold out program, and promptly did some research so I could ask an intelligent question if I had a chance to connect with him.

As soon as I read this Outside Magazine interview, I had my question. Reporter Matt Skenazy had asked, “Do you have a favorite moment in surfing?”

Here's the gist of what he said, “It’s the pause before the pop-up … that moment when you know you’ve got it … man, there’s nothing else like it.”

I wanted to ask, “What is the writer's equivalent of a 'pause before the pop-up?'”

What I couldn’t have anticipated is that Bill demonstrated the writer's equivalent when he read a stunning passage from his book.

He was describing a day he went surfing at "Cliffs," a popular spot near Diamond Head. As he explaied, his family members were "dutiful, if not particularly enthusiastic, Catholics." After receiving the sacrament of confirmation at age 13, he was "thunderstruck to hear my parents say I was no longer required to go to Mass."

"And so, on a spring Sunday morning, I found myself slowly paddling back through the lagoon while my family sweated it out up at Star of the Sea in Waialae. The tide was low. My skeg gently bumped on the bigger rocks. Out on the mossy, exposed reef, wearing conical straw hats, Chinese ladies, or maybe they were Filipinas, bent, collecting eels and octopus in buckets. Waves broke here and there along the reef's outer edge, too small to surf.

I felt myself floating between two worlds. There was the ocean, effectively infinite, falling away forever to the horizon. This morning it was placid, its grip on me loose and languorous. But I was lashed to its mood now. The attachments felt limitless, irresistible. I no longer thought of waves being carved in celestial workshops ...

I was a sunburnt pagan now. I felt privy to mysteries ... The other world was land: everything that was not surfing. Books, girls, school, my family, friends who did not surf. 'Society,' as I was learning to call it, and the exactions of Mr. Responsible.

Hands folded under my chin, I drifted. A bruise-colored cloud hung over Koko Head. A transistor radio twanged on a seawall where a Hawaiian family picnicked on the sand. The sun-warmed shallow water had a strange boiled-vegetable taste. The moment was immense, still, glittering, mundane. I tried to fix each of its parts in memory."

That, folks, was a “drop the pen” moment. That perfect prose-as-poetry passage could have won Bill the Pulitzer on its own merits. It was so clearly a moment where everything came together - his intelligence, exquisite observational ability, and story-telling powers partnered with the muse to produce that sensory-rich, transcendent passage.

Bill was gracious enough to sign a couple books, one for me and my son Andrew who grew up on Maui and who now lives in Brooklyn, but religiously takes his surfboard to Rockaways (via the subway!) to reconnect with the ocean. You can take the boy out of Hawaii; you can’t take Hawaii out of the boy.

My first words to Bill were, “You may have stopped going to Mass; but you didn’t stop going to church.”

He smiled and we discussed the metaphorical aspects of the “pause before the pop-up.” Here’s the gist of our conversation.

If you surf, you know that catching a wave results from a fortuitous combination of coalescing factors. You have to have the right skill, the right board, the right wave, the right positioning, the right conditions, the right weather. It all goes into the mix.

There can be wonderful waves but sometimes they’re too crowded or getting blown out by a cross-wind, or your board’s too short, or you’re in the wrong spot, or you’re tired (or too old and out of shape) and can’t paddle fast enough to match the momentum. Surfing isn’t always glorious. It’s often a lot of waiting, frustration and missed waves.

However, if you’re lucky, there are also times when a rare and much-welcomed match occurs between your skill, the board and Mother Nature. You’re in just the right position at just the right time, the elements coincide and you’re about to transition from paddling as hard as you can from a prone position to standing up on your board.

In that peak performance moment when everything comes together in a state of flow; there is a flash of simultaneous anticipation and appreciation that your hard work is about to pay off and you’re about to reap the rewards of commitment and kismet.

That is the pause before the pop-up. The writer’s equivalent? Our life equivalent?

Sometimes we grind. Our work becomes hard, frustrating, mundane. The words (funding, success, results) won’t come. We don’t have the skills, tools or right conditions to create what we want. We’re tempted to give up. We’re not sure our efforts will ever pay off.

Then there are those sublime times when everything comes together and we write (or perform or present) better than we know how. We have the right idea, the right time and place, the right experience and expertise, and everything starts flowing easily and effortlessly. We see the story, become the story. We’re no longer over-thinking it; we’re in service to what wants to be said. We’re riding a wave of momentum.

These are the penultimate moments when the right conditions converge, our commitment is rewarded and we know we're about to succeed in experiencing the vision that's been in our head.

Those “immense, glittering moments” (Bill’s term) keep us coming back, make it all worthwhile, are the "cosmic reward."

How about you? Are you grinding away on a project and feeling only the frustration of invested effort that doesn't seem commensurate with results?

Could you instead stay alert to “pause before the pop-up” moments?

Could you remember a kismet experience of matched momentum where you performed better than you knew how - and tell yourself, "I've done it before. I can do it again?"

Could you understand that if you keep your antenna up for it - there will come a time where all the elements come together and your time, effort and hard work will pay off?

And when it does, can you promise yourself you will look around, appreciate it and imprint it so you can re-visit it in your mind whenever you want, as often as you want?

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NO MORE DRAMA

“No more pain .. no more game… noone’s gonna make me hurt again.” - Excerpts from lyrics to Mary J. Blige song No More Drama A woman raised her hand in one of my Tongue Fu! workshops and said, “I’m so mad at my landlord, I can hardly think straight.”

I asked, “What happened?”

“She accused me of not paying my rent. This really bothers me because I always pay on time and she’s insinuating I’m a liar.”

“Didn’t she get your check?”

“That’s the thing. I pay in cash. We both travel a lot so I put it in a drawer in the kitchen so it’s waiting for her when she comes back. She claims she didn’t get it.”

“I can see why this would be upsetting. What’s happening now?”

“I told her exactly where I put it and when. She texted back this morning that her son had picked it up and said, ‘My bad.' That may be her way of apologizing but to my mind she’s taking this way too casually.”

“So, what are you going to do to keep this from happening again?”

“Well, I’ll pay with a check from now on so I have a paper trail and can prove I paid. The thing is, I’m still so upset about this, I don’t even know if I want to continue living there.”

We talked through a decision-making matrix that helped her realize that, other than this one incident, she liked the house and wouldn’t be able to find something comparable so wanted to stay. The thing was, she needed to find a way to mentally move on.

I said, “The first thing is to drop, ‘I can’t stop thinking about what she did.’ The more you say that, the more you think about the very think you don’t want to think about. The goal is to replace a "drama story" with a "karma story."

She said, “Like ... ‘What a ditz.”

Everyone in the room laughed.

I said,” Well, that would switch the attention off your reaction and onto her mishandling of the situation. The thing is, if you want to stay in the house, you might want to come up with a more helpful story that will lead to a better relationship. Maybe she was under a lot of stress, acted without thinking and didn’t mean to offend you. Maybe this was an act of omission not of commission. How about saying to yourself, “Give her some grace.”

“I could do that, but she was the one out-of-line.”

“That may be true. However, the incident is over. Dwelling on it serves no good purpose.

Reliving drama keeps it LARGE AND ALIVE. It’s in your best interests to SHRINK THAT STORY and make it SMALL AND OVER.

The way to do that is to have a pro-active, positive mantra like “NEXT” that helps you mentally move on and focus on what’s right in your life instead of what’s wrong.

How about you?

Has someone said or done something to you that was unfair, unkind or undeserved?

Have you found yourself re-living what happened and getting more and more upset?

Have you tried to stop thinking about it, but can’t?”

If so, take these steps.

1. Speak up to correct the situation vs. suffering in silence. More on how to do that here.

2. Take tangible steps to prevent this from happening again.

3. Replace “That person makes me so mad” or “I can’t stop thinking about this” with:

· “It’s over. NEXT.”

· “Oh well. ONWARD.”

· “Shrink it. MOVE ON.”

Henry David Thoreau said, “Life consists of what a man is thinking all day long.”

We may not be able to control what is said or done to us, we CAN control how long we choose to dwell on the drama and what we choose to tell ourselves about it.

Select thoughts/stories that serve rather than sabotage your quality of life.

It’s one of the single best thinks we can do.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create mutually-repsectful commyunications. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times and on NPR, and presented to Intel, Capital One, NASA, Boeing, YPO, Cisco. Want Sam to speak for your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com.

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What Voice are You Listening To?

"There are always two voices sounding in our ears – the voice of FEAR and the voice of CONFIDENCE. One is the clamor of the senses, the other is the whispering of the higher self.” – Charles Newcomb I love Newcomb’s quote because it captures the emotions we experience when facing new situations and making important decisions at Crucial Crossroads.

We can give in to the clamor of the senses or honor the whispering of our higher self and move our life forward – for good.

The importance of this was dramatically demonstrated in an outing I took with my friend Leslie years ago on New Year’s Day.

I was still living in Hawaii at the time. The winter surf was booming so we ventured out to the North Shore of Oahu to tackle the waves at Hawaii’s famous Waimea Bay.

Leslie and I were both strong swimmers. I paticipanted in the Waikiki Rough Water Swim and Leslie was a “fish” who was completely comfortable in the water. Plus, we were only going to the inside set, not out by the jetty where the really big waves were.

But still . . .

Leslie and I stood on the beach with our boogie boards, wondering, “Should we go in . . . shouldn’t we go in?”

If we went in, we could get turned inside out, upside down and deposited on the beach.

On the other hand, we could have an incredibly exhilarating experience, the thrill of a lifetime.

Twenty minutes later, we were still standing on the beach, wondering, “Should we . . . . shouldn’t we . . . should we . . . . shouldn’t we?”

We finally looked at each other simultaneously and said, “Let’s go in. We’ll never know standing out here.”

I remember as if it were yesterday working our way out past that surf line, hanging onto our boards, gazing out towards the horizon with a mixture of awe and what-have-we done?

An impressive set rolled toward us. We looked at each other wide-eyed, filled with equal parts of excitement and anxiety, wondering whether to go for it. We knew once we committed, there was no turning back. You can’t tell an 8 foot wave, “Sorry, I changed my mind.”

We decided to go for it. We kicked as hard as we could to match the speed of the wave and caught it. The swell lifted us up and shot us forward. Whoosh.

I remember sliding down the face of that wave, cutting back and forth as we rode it all the way in until we scraped our bellies on the beach.

We looked at each other, grinning from ear to ear, nodded in agreement and went back out for another shot of adrenaline. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I will always be glad we listened to the voice of confidence instead of the voice of fear.

Are you at a Crucial Crossroads? Do you want to try something new - speak at a conference, launch a startup, write a book, ask for a promotion, go back to college, train for a 10K?

Are you standing on the beach going, “Should I . . .shouldn’t I . . . should I . . . shouldn’t I?’

You’ll never know standing on the beach.

We're not here to stand on the shore, giving in to doubts. We're here to GO IN.

Soren Kierkegaard said, “We always experience anxiety whenever we confront the potential of our own development.”

Do what makes you anxious; don’t do what makes you depressed.

I have never met anyone who regretted listening to the voice of confidence instead of the voice of fear. We don't regret going for our dreams – even if they don't turn out the way we anticipated.

When we act on our hopes (instead of our doubts) and reach out for what puts the light on in our eyes, we feel an inner sense of rightness, “This is how I’m supposed to feel.”

When we retreat, withdraw and give in to fear, the lights goes out. We feel safe, but sorry.

When we believe in our self and bet on our self, things just keep getting better and better.

Sometime this week you’ll come to a Crucial Crossroad. You'll be called to do something that resonates with you, that aligns with the person you want to be, you know you can be.

Which voice will you choose to listen to?

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO/Founder of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create compelling communications that add value for all involved. Check out her books and TEDx talk on INTRIGUE. Discover why her work has been featured in NY Times, Forbes, INC, Fast Company and presented to Intel, Cisco, NASA, Accenture, Capital One, YPO and EO.

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There is No Such Thing as a NORMAL Day

Have you heard about Burning Man – or been there? My son Andrew and his wife Miki Agrawal were “Burning Man” married several years ago, and said, “You must go.”

So, I am.

You may know of the “Gifting” philosophy of The Playa. It’s part of the culture – the Ten Principles of Burning Man – that were articulated by co-founder Larry Harvey.

Imagine that. A sharing, radical inclusion economy … in the desert amidst the Art Cars.

I wondered what I could gift that might be meaningful and decided to memorize ten poems about the meaning of life. When I meet people, if they’re interested, they’re welcome to select a poem that resonates with them.

I’ll share it and then ask, “What does this mean for you?” I am smiling at the thought of the intriguing conversations this might lead to …

Here’s an example of a poem I’ll be sharing on the Playa. It’s authored by Mary Jean Irion:

“Normal day,

let me be aware of the treasure you are.

Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.

Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.

Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.

One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,

or bury my face in the pillow,

or stretch myself taut,

or raise my hands to the sky

and want, more than all the world,

your return.”

Every single time I re-read Mary Jean Irion’s poem, my soul says “Yes, yes, yes.”

How about you?

Are you rushing through life in search of some rare and perfect tomorrow?

Are you so busy, you don’t have the time to look around and imprint, appreciate and enjoy this day?

When you think about it, there really are no normal days.

Every day we’re alive is a gift.

Every day we can see, smell, taste, touch, hear, feel, think and love is a gift.

Let us not race by this day.

Let us not be so caught up in our deadlines and to-do’s that we miss it.

Let us pause right now, look around, and really see all that’s right with our world.

Let us understand that what we’re seeing and experiencing might not always be so.

But it is so,

right here,

right now,

if we just open our heart, mind, and eyes to it,

if we are present to it and grateful for it,

instead of waiting for a special day or for SOMEDAY.

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What Are You WAITING For?

"It gets late early out there." - Yogi Berra A participant at a recent conference asked in the Q & A, "How did you come up with the title of your upcoming book Someday is not a day in the week"

I told her, "I've met so many people over the past few years who talked about what they were going to do ... someday.

Whether it was take more time for their family, take better care of themselves, or pursue a passion project ... they told me they planned (or hoped) to do it when they're not so busy, when their kids go off to college, when they retire, when they have more money, when things aren't so crazy at work ... fill in the blank.

I shared Henry Miller's quote with the group, 'Life, for many of us, is one long postponement" and told them that many of us wait for perfect circumstances to take action on our dreams and passion projects.

The problem with that? Our future is not guaranteed. The longer we wait, the more likely it is we'll never do what we want to do and we'll end up with regrets."

How about you? What is something you want to do you've been postponing? What is something meaningful that could fill your life with joy, purpose and meaning?

Please read and re-read Paulo Coelho's quote, "One day you're going to wake up and there won't be any time left to do the things you've always wanted to do."

It's time to stop waiting and start initiating. You will never regret doing more of what puts the light on in your eyes, you will only regret not doing it sooner.

You don't have to quit your job or abandon your responsibilities, just do one thing each week that makes you like your life. It doesn't have to be grandiose. Just one thing you enjoy and look forward to that makes you a bit happier and healthier."

You might want to read the quotes below and select one that really sings to you. Print it out or write it out and tape it to your laptop or post it above your desk or on your frig. Keep it in sight, in mind so you keep your promise to make the rest of your life the best of your life.

"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." - Nelson Mandela

"You can't be that kid standing at the top of the water slide, over-thinking it. You've got to go down the chute." - Tina Fey

"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't; you'll find an excuse." - Jim Rohn

"Are you doing what you're doing today because it works; or because it's what you were doing yesterday?" - Dr. Phil McGraw

"Our life expands or contracts in proportion to our courage." - Anais Nin

"Let us always be open to the miracle of a second chance." - Rev. David Steir

"I have heard every excuse in the book, except a good one." - Bob Greene

"Are you putting aside what you want most for what you want now?" - Zig Ziglar

"It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis." - M. W. Bonano

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere." - Belle from Beauty in the Beast

"Don't just follow your dreams; launch them." - Sam Horn

"The trouble is, you think you have time." -Buddha

"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." - Jack Canfield

"Once you've done the mental work, there comes a point you have to throw yourself into action and put your heart on the line." - Phil Jackson

"Perhaps we never really appreciate anything until it is challenged." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"When we neglect what matters most to us, then that becomes what's the matter with us." -Paula Reeves

"The scariest moment is always right before you start." - Stephen King

"To feel, think, love and learn; surely that is being alive and young in the real sense."- Freya Stark

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change we seek." - Barack Obama

"Some people get stuck because they keep telling themselves stories about how stuck they are." - Anonymous

"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - C.S. Lewis

"We are what we settle for." - Janis Joplin

"Tomorrow is another day. But so was yesterday." - Rene Ricard

"Nothing will work, unless you do." - Maya Angelou

"I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day." - Albert Camus

"The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you're the pilot." - M. Altschuler

"Don't tell it like it is, tell it like you want it to be." - Esther Hicks

"The most important things aren't things." - Ann Landers

"We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with you one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

"I didn't change. I just woke up." - Pinterest post (I wrote about this here.)

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." - Pablo Picasso (Also attributed to David Viscott)

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan

"My parents always told me I wouldn't amount to anything because I procrastinated so much. I told them, 'Just you wait.'" - Judy Tenuta

"Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun." - Randy Pausch (Click here to discover why many of us only have FUN when our work is DONE).

Please understand, one of these days is none of these days.

Hope this post and these quotes inspire you to set something in motion today that creates a life that's more in alignment with your values and true priorities.

Remember, we're never too OLD for NEW dreams ... and there is no present like the time - and no time like the present - to do more of what puts the light on in your eyes.

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Do You Believe in Bucket Lists?

"The ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When your soul got to heaven, the gods asked two questions, "Have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to others?" - from the movie The Bucket List Where do you stand on the “Great Bucket List Debate?”

Joe Queenan wrote a Wall Street Journal article titled It’s Time to Kick the Bucket List that's triggered a passionate debate online.

Some of the thought-provoking nuggets in his essay include:

• "Nobody needs to go falconing in Mongolia or ride on the back of a nurse shark in Alaska for their life to be complete. They need to raise kids who won’t grow up to hate them. Or take care of their aging mother and make sure she gets a nice send-off."

• “Bucket lists can become obsessive, expensive, painful. They create the impression that life is not so much something to be lived and enjoyed as a series of obligations to be checked off."

• "Get to know where you live better. Forget Mount Fuji, Mount Everest, Mont Saint-Michel. If you live in New York but have never been to Rockaway Beach, Fire Island or the waterfalls in Patterson, N.J,. get cracking."

• "A proper bucket list should be short and highly selective. It’s a bucket list, not a laundry list."

When I asked people on my #LinkedIn page what they thought about bucket lists, I received fascinating responses.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/great-bucket-list-debate-sam-horn/?published=t

Some believe bucket lists are "abhorrent" because they're "morbid and deathly." One said "Bucket lists are for bucket heads." Others say they're a way to "start with the end in mind" and can be an incredibly motivating way to do what matters now so we prevent regrets.

What say you?

Do you have a bucket list?

Yes? Why?

No? Why not?

If you do, what's on it?

What purpose does a bucket list serve in your life?

Other comments?

Let's create a forum on this topic. Eager to hear what you think and explore the pro's and con's of whether bucket lists are worth having.

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My Story Isn't Over Yet

Did you know Serena Williams: * is playing in her 10th Wimbledon women’s singles final tomorrow?

* was fighting for her life ten months ago after giving birth to her first child?

* had blood clot complications following her emergency C-section - and the subsequent surgeries and recovery left her so debilitated that “walking to the mailbox was a struggle?”

* suffered potential career-ending injuries in 2011, including two foot surgeries and a pulmonary embolism, and didn’t know if she'd “get out of the hospital,” much less play tennis again?

Yet, Serena has not only bounced back from those health challenges, she is poised to go for her 30th Grand Slam tournament title (including doubles, the most of anyone).

I can only imagine Serena was tempted to give up when she was hurting, when she could hardly walk, when she was enduring the grueling physical therapy and training workouts to regain her health and get back into playing condition.

It would have been so easy to give up when the odds were against her and it all looked so bleak.

But she wasn’t finished. As she says, “My story isn’t over yet."

Serena wasn’t willing to turn her back on her talent. She believed she still had greatness in her, more championships to win, even though she was in the desert of her dream.

Instead of abandoning her dreams, she re-dedicated herself and chose to use those setbacks and challenges as an INCENTIVE instead of as an EXCUSE.

As a result of fighting for what’s important to her, she’s reached a well-deserved oasis of success that's not a mirage; it is a hard-won reality.

She is reaping the rewards of persevering through the dark days … even when there were no guarantees.

How about you? Are you in the desert of your dream?

Are things not working out the way you hoped? Have you received bad news? Are people not seeing what you’re seeing, not believing what you’re believing?

If you’re a startup or small business owner, are you not making the money you need?

If you work in an organization, are you not getting the projects or promotions you deserve?

If you’re out of work, are you not getting the interviews, call-backs or offers you deserve?

Could you “pull a Serena” and persevere through the desert of your dream?

Could you tell yourself, "My story's not over yet."

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Every successful person will tell you there were setbacks along the way that, at the time, seemed unsurmountable, that could have drained their confidence and caused them to quit.

Instead, they chose to transcended doubts and live forward. In doing so, they re-established momentum and moved closer to achieving what they envisioned in their heart and mind's eye.

As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

He also said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

If you are facing setbacks, if you are in the desert of your dream, remember the shining example of Serena Williams.

See those setbacks as incentive rather than as an excuse.

Believe in your dream. Believe in yourself. Believe that what you want matters. And then, continue. Always continue.

P.S. I know where I'll be tomorrow morning ... watching the person #Nike and #TheNewYorker both called "The Greatest Athlete of our Time" play at #Wimbledon and show us what it takes to be a true champion. How about you?

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Turn Worrying into Wishing

"Complaining chases away inspiration." - Elizabeth Gilbert Elizabeth Gilbert is right. Not only do complaining, worrying and regretting chase away inspiration - they kill dreams and are a total misuse of imagination.

While on my Year by the Water, many people told me they dreamed of going on an adventure like that. When I asked why they weren't, they said they had too many responsibilities. They'd do it "someday" when they had more time, money or freedom.

I'll always remember an exhausted young mom with two children who told me she was tapped out, "I've got so much on my plate, dreaming just isn't an option for me right now."

I said, "Want good news? No matter how tired you are, you have mind time when you go to bed - the 5-50 minutes before you fall to sleep. You're laying there anyway, might as well put your imagination to work for you instead of tossing and turning or staring at the ceiling. What do you think about when you go to bed?'

"Everything that's wrong. The kids fighting. The bills mounting up. How much I hate my job."

I said, "From now on, instead of focusing on what frustrates you, focus on what would fulfill you. This is called awake dreaming and it's a more proactive use of mind-time."

She said, "Okay, that makes sense. As you said replaying what's wrong doesn't change it, it just keeps me up and makes me feel worse. So, how do I do this awake dreaming?"

Picture something you'd like to achieve or experience. Then, think through the 5 W's.

What? What is something you would look forward to that would inspire you and add personal meaning and fulfillment to your days? What can you do to move this forward? What knowledge, skills or resources do you need to turn this dream into a reality? What results do you want? What does successful completion of this look like to you?

Why? Why will this be enjoyable, uplifting, rewarding, worthwhile? Why will it contribute to a quality life, help you add value for others, be part of a legacy you want to leave?

Who? Who can you brainstorm this with? Who has been there, done this and can share their lessons-learned? Who could hear you out and be an advocate or a supportive sounding board? Who could connect you with an investor, a potential partner or team members?

When? When will you do this, launch this, finish this? If you don't put specific dates on the calendar - or schedule them into your day-timer - it's probably not going to happen. As my mom used to say, "That which can be done at any time rarely gets done at all." Increase accountable and the likelihood of success by assigning metrics and numbers to your dream.

Where? Where is the location this will take place? Put yourself in the scene. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line of that 10K, sailing the bay, walking across the stage with that diploma, having a picnic in your local park with neighborhood parents and their kids.

As Gloria Steinem points out, "Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."

How about you? What do you think about when you go to bed? Starting tonight, instead of regretting what did go wrong, complaining about what is wrong, or worrying what could go wrong, put your mind time to work for you by actively dreaming about what you do want vs. what you don't.

Remember, it's never too late to be who you want to be.

Dreaming costs nothing. Not dreaming costs everything.

You might want to print out the following quotes out and put them on your nightstand. Before you go to bed, review them to remind yourself to use your imagination - for good.

16 Quotes to Put Your Imagination and Mind-Time to Work For You vs. Against You

1. "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein

2. "Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious." - Thomas Edison

3. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

4. "Imagination is the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not; it is the foundation of all invention and innovation." - novelist J. K. Rowling

5. "Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” - Robin S. Sharma

6. "Imagination has no age. Dreams are forever." - Walt Disney

7. "There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love." - actress Sophia Loren

8. “When I am completely myself, entirely alone during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly." - Mozart

9. Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." - Victor Hugo

12. "Imagination is the true magic carpet." - Norman Vincent Peale

13. "So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." - Christopher Reeves

14. "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss

15. "Imagination is nothing without doing." - Charles Chaplin

16. "A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities." - J. R. R. Tolkein

When Lupito Nyong'o won her Academy Award, she looked straight into the camera and into the eyes of millions of people watching around the globe and said, "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid."

Not only are dreams valid, they're a valuable way to turn what you mentally see into reality.

So, the question is, what are you going to think about tonight when you go to bed? Are you going to complain or create? Focus on what frustrates you or what would fulfill you?

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Make Up Your Mind to be Kind

I've been thinking a lot about what's going on in our world - and imagine you have too. I kept wondering, "What can I do that might help?" and was moved to write this about how we can make up our mind to be kind.

I welcome your insights.

Do you ever get discouraged by man’s inhumanity to man?

It can be discouraging to watch the news and witness yet another tragedy, scandal or man-made disaster.

Yet complaining about it, or being outraged by it, hurts rather than helps … unless we actively try to improve it.

The thing is, we don’t always have the ability to change what’s happening on the world stage. We feel powerless to fix what’s wrong, to make things better.

The good news is, there are ways to make things better.

Paying attention to, and contributing to, what’s right with the world can make things better for us and everyone around us.

As Jose Ortega y Gasset said, “Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.”

The challenge is, many of us have become so stressed, so angry, we no longer even notice what’s right with the world; we no longer even see man’s HUMANITY to man.

This point was brilliantly made in an article by Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post. I remember reading Pearls Before Breakfast on a Sunday morning years ago and was so inspired, I set the magazine down and said out loud, “Just give the man the Pulitzer.”

Weingarten wondered, “What would happen if you took a renowned violinist and positioned him inside a D.C Metro Stop during morning rush hour?

What if you asked him to play six compositions, each masterpieces that have endured for centuries, on a rare Stradivarius?

Would any of the hundreds of people streaming by take a moment to pay attention to a free concert by one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written, on one of the most valuable violins ever made?”

Guess what happened?

In the forty-five minutes Joshua Bell played, (yes, the multi-talented Joshua Bell who packs them in at concert halls around the globe), only 7 (!) people took a moment away from their rush-hour commute to listen to his performance.

The other 1070 people all rushed by, seemingly oblivious to the miracle in their midst.

Weingarten’s point? Have we become so uptight and driven that we have lost the ability to see the beauty around us? He quoted W.H. Davies who said, “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare."

Weingarten made another stunning observation, “There was no demographic pattern to distinguish the few people who paused to listen except … every time a child walked past, s/he tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.”

Hmmm. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Kudos to Gene Weingarten for his visionary social experiment. (And he did get a Pulitzer for it). Please take the time to read Pearls Before Breakfast and ask yourself:

· Would I have paused and taken a moment to listen to Bell?

· Why or why not?

· Have I become inured to the beauty around me?

· At what cost?

· What can I do to be more attentive to, and appreciative of, the beauty in the world?

Starting today, instead of dwelling on or obsessing about the news, which primarily reports man’s inhumanity to man, choose to give your attention to what’s uplifting, inspiring and enlightening.

Keep your antenna up for examples of humankind – man’s humanity to man.

Notice and thank the people who are making a positive difference … the parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, servers, community leaders who treat others with respect and are dedicated to living in integrity and adding value.

When we choose to honor and BE humanKIND – we expand it. And when we expand it, we make it more of the norm. And isn't that what we all want?

Want another example of humanKIND?

Have you ever had the chicken-skin experience of singing in a choir or hearing a concert of hundreds of voices lifted in song?

Well, composer Eric Whitacre thought, “What if I gathered people from 73 countries around the world – online – and conducted a virtual choir with thousands of people all singing the same song at the same time?”

Take a few moments to listen to the transcendent results of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 2 “Water Night.”

Do it right now. Don’t pass by this shining example of man’s humanity to man. Act on your insight from Weingarten's article. Bring some beauty into your life now, not someday.

I promise, for the moments you listen to this, you will be immersed in what’s right with our world - right here, right now.

You will be swept up in the joy of human harmony.

You will see the world in a more positive, proactive, high-potential light.

And when you do that, when you celebrate and share what’s beautiful in the world, when you make up your mind to be kind, you create a rising tide raising all humanKIND.

And that benefits all of us.

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What Are You SETTLING For?

"The minute you SETTLE for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." - Maureen Dowd Have you been reasonable and responsible for so long, you habitually give up what calls you? What toll is SETTLING taking on your quality of life?

I was headed to Los Angeles to work with some consulting clients. As I scrolled through the hotel options on Expedia, I noticed a deep discount on the Jamaican Inn in Marina Del Ray, only ten minutes from LAX.

Let's see. A box hotel by the airport or a boutique hotel on the water for the same price? What shall I do, what shall I do? Suffice it to say I went with the more innovative option.

While checking in, the front desk clerk asked, "Where you from?"

"I'm in the middle of my Year by the Water."

"What's that?"

She was so intrigued with my adventure, she spontaneously upgraded me to a waterfront suite. I walked into the magnificent room and straight out onto the balcony. It was golden hour, that magical time of day right before the sun sets. I looked out at the palm trees and the boats, breathed in the sea air and marveled at the pelicans doing majestic fly-bys.

In the middle of my reverie, a friend called for our monthly checkin. Glenna could tell from my voice how happy I was and asked, "What's going on?" I told her how much I loved being in this stunning room with its thrilling view of the marina.

Glenna was puzzled. She said, “Sam, you’re on your Year by the Water. Don’t you normally stay on the water?”

I told her I was on a budget and often opted for less expensive back-of-the-property rooms instead of the higher-priced rooms with a view. She paused, then said, “Wouldn’t you rather spend six months overlooking the water than twelve months overlooking the parking lot?”

Yes I would, Glenna. Yes I would.

Think of this as a metaphor. It isn't just about which hotel room we select.

The essence of Glenna's insight was, "Have we been sensible and emotionally and fiscally frugal for so long, we no longer even ask for what would make us happy? Are we settling for parking lots when waterfront rooms are what we really want?"

I understand the importance of being responsible, realistic and reasonable. Yet many of us are doing this to a fault. We have become so accustomed to compromising what we want and settling for less, it has become our default.

Many of the people I met on my travels and interviewed for my SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week book told me it's been so long since they've had the freedom to do what makes them happy, they no longer know what that is.

How about you? Have you been sacrificing what you want, or putting everyone else first for so long, you've forgotten what it feels like to do what calls you - even for an hour or a day?

At some level, do you think you can't afford to do what makes you happy?

Janis Joplin said, "We are what we settle for."

Notice, she didn't say we GET what we settle for. She said we ARE what we settle for.

What are you settling for?

Granted, as leaders, parents and partners, we need to put other people's needs first most of the time. However, we need to balance our service to others with service to ourselves.

Doing what we really want - once in a while - is a gift that keeps on giving.

I can hardly describe how happy it makes me to be in, on and around water. It makes my soul sing and my mind soar. It set up a happiness ripple effect that positively affects me, and everyone around me, for days.

What does that for you? What sets up a happiness ripple effect? One way to update the "settle default" and tap back into buried, compromised or sacrificed wants, needs and dreams is to ask yourself:

* What if I could play hooky for a day or an afternoon?

* What would I do, where would I go, if there were no repercussions and all my responsibilities would be taken care of?

* What would I do if I didn't have to be sensible, if I didn't have to settle?

* What would I do if I could afford it?

The answer(s) to those questions can reveal a "calling activity" that would lift your spirits and give you something joyful to look forward to.

Life isn’t supposed to be a drudge. We are meant to be happy. Doing what puts the light on in our eyes - making time for a calling activity - isn’t indulgent, it’s inspiring.

I am not suggesting we can - or should - do what we want ALL the time. We continue to take care of, and be financially and emotionally responsible to, the people counting on us.

Yet we also take care of ourselves. And that means doing what makes our soul sing and our mind soar every once in a while – without apology or guilt.

That means getting in, on or around water (or whatever lifts your spirits and makes your soul smile) instead of giving up what you really want and settling for the parking lot.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker - has the best of all worlds. Her work has been featured in NY Times and on NPR, taught to NASA, Intel, Boeing, YPO, Accenture, and she helps clients create one-of-a-kind books, TEDx talks, brands. Contact Cheri@intrigueAgency.com to work with Sam or arrange for her to speak to your group.

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What Gift(s) Did Your Father Give You?

"My father gave me the greatest gift you can give anyone. He believed in me." -Jim Valvano On this Fathers Day, what gift(s) did your dad give you?

A good friend who’s a psychologist has a question she likes to ask, “What is something you remember your parents telling you?”

It’s an innocent enough question, yet it is a mini-Rorschach test.

What we choose to say – of all the thousands of things that were said and done throughout our childhood – says a lot about our parents and says a lot about us.

For some people, what stands out in their mind of what their parents said is:

“I’m sorry I had you.”

“You were a mistake.”

“You’re driving me crazy.”

For others, it’s:

“You can be anything you want to be.”

“You never know until you try.”

“Do the right thing.”

What do you remember your parents saying or doing that has had lifelong impact on you?

In particular, on this Father’s Day, what did your dad say or do that has stuck with you?

That last one from the list above, “Do the right thing,” is what our dad and mom – Warren and Ruth Reed - told us. Well, not in so many words. They inferred it. Here’s what I mean.

We grew in a small town in Southern California. And when I say a small town, I mean s-m-a-l-l, more horses than people.

If you draw a triangle between Ojai, Santa Maria and Taft, New Cuyama would be in the middle of that triangle.

My dad was the ag teacher at the local high school, which had 104 students in its “biggest” year.

Dad was in charge of the local FFA and 4-H club, which meant we grew up with animals. Rabbits. Sheep. Hogs. Cattle. Horses. Chickens.

When it was a cold wintry night and time to feed the rabbits, I would ask my dad, “It’s freezing out there. Do I have to feed the rabbits tonight? Can’t I do it in the morning?” ….

he wouldn’t say, “Yes, you have to feed the rabbits. They’re depending on you. How many times do I have to tell you ….”

he would say, “Do the right thing.”

When my sister, brother and I would go riding on a 100 degree summer day and come back on sweaty horses …

and ask our dad if we could just turn them loose in the corral instead of walking them until they’d cooled down …

he wouldn’t say, “You know the rules. You don’t leave until their sweat has dried.”

he would say, “Do the right thing.”

He instilled in us that when we’re tempted to do the easy thing, the expedient thing, the convenient thing …that instead we choose to do the right thing.

Thanks Dad.

You’re no longer with us so I can’t tell you this face-to-face, so I am sending my thanks heavenward.

Because of you and mom teaching me that doing the right thing deserves to be our automatic default, I did my best to model and instill that in my sons Tom and Andrew.

It is a JOY seeing them choose to live their life that way.

And it is a joy seeing them carry on your legacy as they teach their young children to become respectful, grateful, responsible citizens who choose to do the right thing.

What did your dad say or do that is still with you?

If you are lucky enough to still have him around, how will you thank him today for making an enduring difference for you?

If he’s not, how will you send your thanks heavenward, and let him know how you’re carrying on his legacy and doing your best to pass along his lessons to your loved ones?

Happy Fathers Day.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, has the best of all worlds. She gets to speak for organizations such as National Geographic and ASAE, her books have been featured in NY Times and on NPR, and she gets to help people create one-of-a-kind books and TEDx talks.

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